Hair growth patterns Copy

Changes in Growth Patterns

The hair growth pattern can change due to several factors:

Illness – Illness has a strong effect on hair growth, usually making it lank and lifeless. It can also cause hair loss, or growth of unwanted hair.

Medication – Drugs can affect the growth pattern; hair may become coarse and thick. Follicles can often be weakened, causing hair to fall out. In some cases, this can be temporary.

Hormones – Different changes of life can affect hair growth, e.g. women going through the menopause may find they develop whiskers of coarse hair on their face. Endometriosis or Polycystic Ovaries can cause male pattern hair growth in women. In men, a hormone called Testosterone causes the hair follicles to shrink which contributes to male pattern baldness

Female pattern hair loss (FPHL)- this can occur during hormonal changes, most often occurring during the menopause and the months leading up to it. FPHL will appear as thinning at the crown of the head, the sides or more general hair thinning all over the head. A complete loss of hair, as seen in men who sometimes go bald, is much rarer in women and is usually caused by a medical condition or by medical treatment such as chemotherapy

Emotion – Sudden shock, an accident, or stress can all lead to hair loss. This is called alopecia (patches of hair loss).

Causes of Hair Growth

Excess hair growth can be either normal or abnormal and may be the result of a number of causes.

  • Topical – Hair growth caused by irritation of the skin caused by friction which results in an increased blood supply. The hair follicles receive more nutrients and thus grow longer and thicker hair. The removal of vellus hair by plucking can also cause the hair follicle to become deeper, causing more blood supply and the change in structure from vellus to terminal. For example, sunburn can cause excess hair growth, as can moles, scars and birthmarks.
  • Congenital – this type of hair growth is inherited. The person can be born with it or develop it later in life.
  • Systemic – this includes normal hair growth caused by hormones from puberty, pregnancy and menopause, as well as abnormal hair growth caused by hormonal imbalances from diseases, surgery, tumours, medicine or stress.

Malfunctions of the endocrine system and the effects on hair growth 

Abnormal hair growth is often caused by an abnormal change in the endocrine system, which causes a hormonal imbalance. This can be due to illness, tumours, medication or dietary disorders.


This is when the female body becomes more masculine, and results develop heavy facial hair and excess body hair growth in the male pattern of growth. Male patter hair loss can also occur. A hormone imbalance, that can be due to a tumour on the adrenal cortex or a tumour on the ovaries, can influence the hypersecretion of androgens and the reduction in the release of oestrogen. This causes abnormal systematic hair growth.

Virilization is also accompanied by loss of menstruation, deepening of the voice, loss of scalp hair, development of acne, and the breast tissue reduces, and the body thickens.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

A variety of symptoms can be seen with this condition, including heavy or irregular periods, excessive facial and body hair growth and infertility. It is caused by cysts or growths on the ovaries that develop due to non-completion of the ovulation process.

Cushing Syndrome 

This is caused by tumours on the adrenal cortex where it causes the gland to produce too much cortisol. There is an associated overproduction of androgens, and as a result, a heavy male pattern of hair growth can be seen. Other symptoms may include a thickening of the trunk, round face, dowagers hump and thin legs and arms.

Anorexia Nervosa 

Clients suffering from this eating disorder become very thin and undernourished. It is, therefore, quite common to see excessive hair growth all over the face and body. This is caused by a shutdown in the ovaries that reduces the amount of oestrogen produced and stimulating the androgens. Females who exercise or undertake athletic training may also be affected by the same symptoms.


Some prescribed drugs such as androgens or anabolic steroids have a secondary effect causing excess hair growth.

Causes of hair loss

What causes hair loss?

Hair loss has many causes. What’s causing your hair loss can determine whether your hair:

  • Falls out gradually or abruptly
  • Thins
  • Can regrow on its own
  • Requires treatment to regrow
  • Needs immediate care to prevent permanent hair loss

Causes of hair loss

Hereditary hair loss

Both men and women develop this type of hair loss, which is the most common cause of hair loss worldwide. In men, it’s called male pattern hair loss. Women get female pattern hair loss. Regardless of whether it develops in a man or women, the medical term is androgenic alopecia.

No matter which term you use, it means that you’ve inherited genes that cause your hair follicles (what each hair grows out of) to shrink and eventually stop growing hair. Shrinking can begin as early as your teens, but it usually starts later in life.

In women, the first noticeable sign of hereditary hair loss is usually overall thinning or a widening part.

When a man has hereditary hair loss, the first sign is often a receding hairline or bald spot at the top of his head.

Is regrowth possible?
Yes, treatment can help stop or slow hair loss. It may also help regrow hair. The earlier treatment is started, the better it works. Without treatment, you will continue to lose hair.

Hereditary hair loss

Both men and women develop this type of hair loss, which is the most common cause of hair loss worldwide. In men, it’s called male pattern hair loss. Women get female pattern hair loss.


With age, most people notice some hair loss because hair growth slows. At some point, hair follicles stop growing hair, which causes the hair on our scalp to thin. Hair also starts to lose its colour. A woman’s hairline naturally starts to recede.

Is regrowth possible?
Caught early, treatment helps some people regrow their hair.


Alopecia is a disease that develops when the body’s immune system attacks hair follicles (what holds the hair in place), causing hair loss. You can lose hair anywhere on your body, including your scalp, inside your nose, and in your ears. Some people lose their eyelashes or eyebrows.

Is regrowth possible?
Yes. If your hair fails to grow back on its own, treatment may help stimulate regrowth.

Cancer treatment

If a client is receive chemotherapy or having radiation treatment to their head or neck, they may lose all (or most of) your hair within a few weeks of starting treatment.

Is regrowth possible?
Hair usually starts to regrow within months of finishing chemotherapy or radiation treatments to the head or neck. Dermatologists can offer medication to help hair grow back more quickly.

Is it preventable?
Wearing a cooling cap before, during, and after each chemotherapy session may help prevent hair loss.

Cancer treatment

If a client is receiving treatment for cancer they would be contra-indicated

Childbirth, illness, or other stressors

A few months after giving birth, recovering from an illness, or having an operation, clients may notice a lot more hairs in their brush or pillow. This can also happen after a stressful time in your life, such as a divorce or death of a loved one.

Is regrowth possible?
If the stress stops, your body will readjust and the excessive shedding will stop. When the shedding stops, most people see their hair regain its normal fullness within 6 to 9 months.

Hair care

If you color, perm, or relax your hair, you could be damaging your hair. Over time, this damage can lead to hair loss.

Is regrowth possible?
You can change how you care for your hair, which can prevent hair loss. Once you damage a hair follicle, hair cannot grow from that follicle. Having many damaged hair follicles creates permanent bald spots.

Hairstyle pulls on your scalp

If you often wear your hair tightly pulled back, the continual pulling can lead to permanent hair loss. The medical name for this condition is traction alopecia.

Is regrowth possible?
No. You can prevent hair loss by making some changes.

Hormonal imbalance

A common cause of this imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It leads to cysts on a woman’s ovaries, along with other signs and symptoms, which can include hair loss. Stopping some types of birth control pills can cause a temporary hormonal imbalance. Women who develop a hormonal imbalance can develop thinning hair (or hair loss) on their scalp.

Is regrowth possible?
Treatment may help.

Scalp infection

A scalp infection can lead to scaly and sometimes inflamed areas on your scalp. You may see what look like small black dots on your scalp. These are actually stubs of hair. Some people develop a bald spot.

Is regrowth possible?
Yes, treatment can get rid of the infection. Once the infection clears, hair tends to grow.


A possible side effect of some medications is hair loss. If you think a medication is causing your hair loss, ask the doctor who prescribed it if hair loss is a possible side effect. It’s essential that you do not stop taking the medication before talking with your doctor. Abruptly stopping some medications can cause serious health problems.

Is regrowth possible?

Scalp psoriasis

Many people who have plaque psoriasis develop psoriasis on their scalp at some point. This can lead to hair loss.

Is regrowth possible?
Hair tends to regrow once the scalp psoriasis clears, but this takes time. By following these dermatologists’ tips, you may be able to prevent hair loss.

Pulling your hair

Some people pull on their hair, often to relieve stress. They may be unaware that they’re pulling their hair. The medical term for this is trichotillomania.

Is regrowth possible?
If you haven’t destroyed the hair follicles, yes. For your hair to regrow, you have to stop pulling it.

Scarring alopecia

This condition develops when inflammation destroys hair follicles. Once destroyed, a hair follicle cannot grow hair. Diverse conditions can cause this. The medical name for this group of conditions is cicatricial alopecia.

Is regrowth possible?
Once a hair follicle is destroyed, it cannot regrow a hair. Catching this condition early can prevent further hair loss.

Sexually transmitted infection

Left untreated, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) can lead to hair loss. Syphilis is such an STI. Left untreated, syphilis can cause patchy hair loss on the scalp, eyebrows, beard, and elsewhere. Other STIs can also cause hair loss.

Is regrowth possible?
After treating the STI, hair often starts to regrow.

Thyroid disease

If you have a problem with your thyroid, you may see thinning hair. Some people notice that their hair comes out in clumps when they brush it.

Is regrowth possible?
Yes, treating the thyroid disease can reverse the hair loss.

Too little biotin, iron, protein, or zinc

If you’re not getting enough of one or more of these, you can have noticeable hair loss.

Is regrowth possible?
Yes. When your body gets enough of the missing nutrients, hair can regrow.


People can develop hair loss where extensions frequently rubs against their skin. The medical term for this is frictional alopecia.

Is regrowth possible?
Hair tends to regrow on its own when the rubbing stops.


Being slowly poisoned can lead to hair loss. Poisons that can cause hair loss include arsenic, thallium, mercury, and lithium. If you ingest a large amount of warfarin, which is found in rat poisons, it can also cause hair loss. Taking large amounts of vitamin A or selenium is also toxic and can cause hair loss.

Is regrowth possible?
Yes, hair tends to regrow when you are no longer exposed to the poison.

While many causes of hair loss can be treated successfully, the key to effective treatment is to find out what’s causing the hair loss. Without an accurate diagnosis, treatment is often ineffective.